Lap of honour for Hartley Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) wrapped up the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title in Estoril, ahead of the final round in Barcelona. Meanwhile, the SG Formula drivers gained the upper hand in the fight to feature...
Lap of honour for Hartley
Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) wrapped up the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title in Estoril, ahead of the final round in Barcelona. Meanwhile, the SG Formula drivers gained the upper hand in the fight to feature on the final podium. But the battle for the runner-up spot between Jon Lancaster and Charles Pic is far from over!
Two more podium finishes in Portugal were enough for Brendon Hartley to add his name to the list of Eurocup champions. Unlike in previous seasons, where the suspense lasted right up to the season's final corner, things were pretty clear this year. In terms of stats, the New Zealander has totally dominated his rivals: ten points-finishes in twelve races, including eight podium spots and four race wins!
It must be said that Brendon has been assisted by his rivals' inconsistency. Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Powerteam), Charles Pic, Stefano Coletti (Epsilon Red Bull) and Jon Lancaster have all taken turns as his closest challenger, but none of them have managed to stay there for long!
After winning both races in Estoril, Lancaster is the man in form at the end of the season. Having converted from karting - where he finished as runner-up in the 2005 World Championship - Jon had a quiet start to the season, collecting no points from the first four races. The turning point came at Budapest where he scored a 2nd place, followed up by a win at Donington. His 100% weekend in Portugal has taken him up to second place in the championship.
After a successful start to the season at the Nurburgring, Charles Pic went through a bad patch up to the Magny-Cours meeting. But the rookie now stands just three points behind his team-mate Lancaster, after picking up points in each of the last four races.
Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy) had been hoping to keep up the good form he had showed by finishing on the podium at Magny-Cours. Unfortunately, a frustrating weekend in Estoril saw him lose second place in the standings. After wrapping up the North European Cup title, the German driver will however be looking to muscle his way back onto the Eurocup's final podium.
Despite failing to notch up any impressive results since Donington, Stefano Coletti could yet finish on a high. We will also see whether Waldschmidt is able to maintain his return to form this weekend! The remaining top 10 places will be hotly contested by the likes of Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport), Jaime Alguersuari (Epsilon Red Bull), Nelson Panciatici (Boutsen Energy Racing), Mika Maeki (Epsilon Red Bull) and Mihai Marinescu (District Racing).
After producing some impressive performances this year, Roberto Merhi (Jenzer Motorsport) and Aleix Alcaraz (District Racing) will be looking to do well in front of their home crowd.
The top two drivers in the French Championship might also shake up the established order: Jules Bianchi (SG Formula) and Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport) must be taken very seriously as potential race winners. Bianchi took pole position in Budapest, whereas Arzeno won both races at Magny-Cours.